Screw No 196. Tel Aviv

Mood: Excited
Place: Private Apartment, Tel Aviv
Date: 5th January 2010. 15.21pm
News: Many ignorant on ‘waist fat’ risk

I just sent you an email. You are so close, I can see you checking your emails. I wrote: I miss you. .

Screw No 199. Jerusalem

Mood: Exhausted, Place: Restaurant, Village Green, 33 Jaffa St (at Nahalat Shiva), Jerusalem
Date: 6th January 2010. 18.21pm
News: Israel approves four new buildings in East Jerusalem

I have left my small rucksack on the chair by my table upstairs, next to a kippah wearing American Jewish man, seemingly deeply engrossed in conversation with his date about an attempted terror attack, earlier today, in the old city. I am not quite sure if leaving my bag unattended in a restaurant in Jerusalem is ‘the thing to do’, but no one seemed to notice, nor care.

There is a torn sticker on the door in the ladies where I am standing, written in Arabic, Hebrew and English, with a number for a rape crises help line and I remove a screw from the door handle, while reflecting on how earlier, the combination of unwanted, never-ending and annoying male attention, “invitations” to a room at the back of a shop for tea or coffee, to a place of interest around the corner, or for a walk on top of the old wall, reached only via a stairway not far away, together with finding myself lost deep within the old walled city at dusk, left me torn between a desire to continue exploring the narrow alleys and lanes and irritation of not being left alone to do so.

How with darkness falling fast, a useless map in my hand, and a vague memory of advice to exercise extreme caution in the empty streets of the Old City after dark, (especially women) I had to search for a way out, through labyrinth paths and shadowy passageways to less empty quarters, past young boys, shooting each other with toy guns and grown ups, carrying real ones, past robed christian clergy, wide-eyed religious pilgrims, habit wearing nuns, hooded monks, bearded, black-clothed Hasidic Jews, keffiah-wearing Arabs and women with scarfs, wigs or hijabs, a volatile mix of “gang” affiliated traditional codes, conflict woven fabrics stitched with tension, and amid the deep currents, overwhelmed tourists with their head above water, holding digital cameras and haggling with aggressive vendors in the emptying bazaar, its stalls and stores overflowing with spices, oriental sweets and cakes, with clothing, rugs, and embroidery, with jewelry, ceramics and antiques, with religious icons, ceremonial objects, gifts and countless other souvenirs.

On how I reached Jaffa gate, after dark, disorientated, overwhelmed and hungry, with yet another man following me out of the old city, repeating the same tired lines; you have such beautiful eyes, you are my kind of woman, let me take you to another place, just down the road where you can take nice photos, lets sit down for a romantic moment, you don’t trust me?  Why don’t you trust me? Why don’t you trust me? I am your friend..

Still annoyed, I replace the screw in front of me with the one I removed earlier from that changing room by the dead sea and it feels as if days has passed since I was driven through the Judean desert, since I felt the initial shock of the contrasting chill upon stepping out of the overheated car into cold wintry Jerusalem, where you left me.

Its dark outside and I am exhausted. The vegetarian lasagna was overpriced and I am still hungry. I need to lie down, to sleep, but I have hours left to kill, and absolutely no idea where to go. Its time to go..